The LDS Institute of Religion wants to make sure that Salt Lake Community College students are nourished both physically and spiritually while at school.
In addition to free food events held at the beginning of fall and spring semester, the LDS Institute also provides low-cost lunches three days a week at Taylorsville Redwood Campus. The events help raise awareness about Institute and give students an opportunity to socialize.
“We want to provide opportunities for everybody on campus,” says Jeff Meservy, LDS Institute director at Taylorsville Redwood Campus. “We don’t want to be exclusive. I know it’s a big deal on campus here to be inclusive.”
Feeding hungry students
Institute staff at Taylorsville Redwood Campus will serve free breakfast and lunch on August 24 and 25, and free hot chocolate, donuts and pizza will be served during the first week of spring semester.
“We fed about 4,000 students [last year],” Meservy says. “And I would daresay that the majority of those students are not LDS. We want to reach out and just help on campus however we can.”
Institute also serves affordable lunches on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“Anyone who comes to this building that wants to pay a dollar to have their lunch, they’re welcome to,” Meservy says. “We won’t make them register for class. But if they want to register for class, they can get their lunch free.”
Exploring different religious texts
When a student registers for any course held at the LDS Institute they automatically become a member of the LDS Student Association. According to Meservy, the only club on campus that is larger than LDSSA is the Salt Lake Community College Student Association, which includes all registered students at SLCC.
Faculty teach religious subjects from books such as The Old Testament, The New Testament, The Book of Mormon and The Doctrine and Covenants. The Institute also offers other diverse courses such as The World Religions.
The free courses are for young adults between 18 and 30 years old and count toward LDS Institute graduation requirements. Hard copies of class manuals can be purchased for a nominal fee, but most students access the material for free online.
Welcoming all students
Meservy says that LDS Church membership is not a requirement for class registration.
“We have many non-LDS students who come and take the classes — from different ethnic backgrounds — because they are curious to know what the LDS faith believes,” he says.
Meservy adds that many students also visit the Institute building just to do homework in one of the study rooms.
“It’s a great place to hang out and socialize and visit,” Meservy says.
The Institute building has a game room with ping pong tables and pool tables, a full-sized gymnasium and a kitchen with tables. Students also have free access to a self-serve counter with ingredients for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
Visit institute.lds.org to learn more about the LDS Institute.